Ebersol family an example of how father-son bond never fades

Eighteen years have not clouded the memory of Charlie Ebersol. He vividly recalls his last conversation with his 14-year-old brother, Teddy, as their 18-seat charter jet taxied down the snowy Colorado runway.

Charlie, returning to college at Notre Dame, sat in the back of the plane, and the Boston Red Sox-obsessed Teddy sat in the front with her father, legendary TV exec and lifelong New York Yankees fan Dick Ebersol.

“My dad and Teddy are talking beforehand,” Charlie said. “We haven’t left yet. And my dad says to Teddy, “Why baseball?” And Teddy said, ‘I wanted something you and I could talk about.’ And my dad said, “Wow,” and then my dad thinks for a second and says, “Okay, but then why the Red Sox?”

“And Teddy said, ‘See Charlie over there? He’s the Yankee fan and he’s in the back of the plane. I’m the Red Sox fan and I’m up here talking to you.’

“Thirty seconds later the plane crashed and Teddy died.”

Dick Ebersol explores at length the unspeakable sadness of losing his youngest child in that devastating 2004 plane crash in his forthcoming memoir, From Saturday Night to Sunday Night, due out in September.

“We always felt like we had such an incredible hug from so many people, the whole Red Sox nation,” said Dick, who was seriously injured in the accident – the plane was unable to fly and the takeoff was aborted – and was unconscious the wreckage was carried away by Charlie just before the plane burst into flames. The captain and flight attendant were killed along with Teddy.

“People who reached out, who didn’t hesitate, whether we were in Boston or somewhere in New England, came up to us and said, ‘Can I give you a hug?’ ‘ he said, his voice barely audible at the time. “It was pretty phenomenal.”

On the banks of the Charles River, six miles from where the US Open is played in Brookline, Mass., Teddy is a lasting memory – three ball fields in the middle of downtown Boston, a public complex designed by Red Sox was co-owned by Tom Werner and are meticulously maintained by the team’s ground crew.

Teddy Ebersol's glove is commemorated on this granite bench at Teddy Ebersol's Red Sox Fields in Boston.

Teddy Ebersol’s glove is commemorated on this granite bench at Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields in Boston, including a tribute to the 2004 Red Sox title.

(Courtesy of the Ebersol family)

The fields are marked with a granite bench with Teddy’s name, the Red Sox’s slogan “Curse Reversed 2004” — a nod to their first World Series win that ended an 86-year drought — and a bronzed baseball glove, a replica of Teddy’s constant companion , equipped was lost in the crash. His original glove was bright turquoise and white, and he was always up for a game of tag with his father, brothers, or sister.

Werner is a close family friend of the Ebersols, as is New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who also contributed to the project. Also instrumental was Mitt Romney, who was Governor of Massachusetts throughout the construction of the fields, which were created in 2006. Ebersol and Romney were close friends from their days at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Ebersol, who stepped down as chairman of NBC Sports in 2011, looks back on a distinguished career that began when he left Yale in the early 1970s to work for ABC’s Roone Arledge as television’s first Olympic researcher, and the seminal creations of ” Saturday Night Live” and “Sunday Night Football”.

His enduring inspiration through the best and worst of times was his wife, actress Susan Saint James, whom he met in 1981 when she guest-hosted “SNL” and married within a year. She was an open book about the loss of her son and helped countless other parents deal with their worst nightmares.

“Tim Russert was a close family friend and his summer home was 20 minutes from here,” Ebersol said of his home in Litchfield, Conn. “He was on the news on NBC and I was on sports. He had Susie on the Today Show three or four days after the accident.

Dick Ebersol and son Teddy at Fenway Park in the summer of 2004.

Dick Ebersol and son Teddy at Fenway Park in the summer of 2004.

(Courtesy of the Ebersol family)

“When you look at it, you get an incredible feeling of how strong she is and was. Thousands of people across the country were affected. The amount of mail was incredible. She touched so many hearts. It wasn’t her pity for herself or her family. She was trying to tell so many other families who she knew were grieving in our country how to handle this.”

The Ebersols are a blended family. Saint James was previously married to makeup artist Tom Lucas and they had a son, Harmony, and a daughter, Sunshine. Ebersol and Saint James later had sons Charlie, Willie and Teddy.

“We don’t use the term stepfather or stepparent in this family,” Ebersol said. “[Harmony and Sunshine] have their father whom they worship. We all get along somehow.”

Nowhere was this clearer than in the deep despair as the family grew even closer after Teddy’s death. The accident happened on November 28, 2004, the day after Matt Leinart threw 400 yards in leading USC over Notre Dame 41-10 in the Coliseum. Willie was at USC; Charlie at Notre Dame.

Dick Ebersol with son Teddy as a youth.

Dick Ebersol with son Teddy.

(Courtesy of the Ebersol family.)

Four Ebersols – the parents, Charlie and Teddy – left Van Nuys that Sunday morning and made their way to Colorado, where Susan was planning to get the family’s Telluride vacation home ready for Christmas. The plane landed in Montrose, Colorado, where it was refueled and Susan disembarked.

“The fire was astronomical because the plane had just been refueled,” Ebersol said. “Meanwhile, Susie doesn’t know anything happened because she’s in the mountains and can’t get cell phone signal. It wasn’t until she reached a spot in the mountains where she could pick up a signal that Charlie reached her and told her there had been a crash.”

Since Teddy’s glove was lost in the accident, the Ebersols asked Mizuno for one that was identical down to the last detail. The family then sent it around for everyone to have a chance to break in. The glove was then bronzed by the same foundry that cast the famous Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in the Boston Public Garden.

It’s not just the ball fields that are named in Teddy’s honor. The Liberty Hotel across the street, owned by close friends of the Ebersols, renamed the Presidential Suite after him. Copper beeches were planted in Litchfield in his memory and a school named its library after him.

Even now for Charlie, some memories keep the world from spinning.

“Do you know the song ‘Drift Away’ by Dobie Gray? … ‘Give me the beat boys and set my soul free, I want to lose myself in your rock ‘n roll and drift away,'” he said. “That was Teddy’s favorite song. When I’m driving and this song comes on the radio, I have to stop because I’m close to tears.”

Rowena, daughter of Teddy Ebersol's sister Sunshine Lewis, kisses the glove in memory of Teddy.

On August 23, 2009, 16-month-old Rowena – daughter of Teddy Ebersol’s sister Sunshine Lewis – kisses the glove commemorating Teddy in the fields planted in his memory in Boston.

(Courtesy of the Ebersol family)

Sunshine has a favorite photo. It shows her daughter Rowena, then 16 months old, kissing the bronze glove in Teddy’s field.

“I think I was most touched by Teddy when I had my own kids and realized how devastating it would be if anything ever happened to them,” she said.

Rowena turned 14 this year, the same age as the uncle she never knew.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-06-18/plane-crash-dick-ebersol-teddy-fathers-day Ebersol family an example of how father-son bond never fades

Emma Bowman

USTimesPost.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – admin@ustimespost.com. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button